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As technology evolves, debates continue to arise over geo-tracking. Today, mobile carriers, internet service providers and other parties can track your location through your devices, including your smartphone.

But if you have an Android phone, what happens when it’s turned off? Can your location still be tracked?

How does location tracking work?

Your geographic location can be tracked by cell towers and satellites. When you are near a cell tower, the time it takes for your phone to receive a signal from the tower after connecting is used to determine your location. This is known as cell tower triangulation and can provide a fairly accurate location with an offset of 500-1500 meters.

And your phone can also be tracked using the GPS or Global Positioning System built into every model. Your phone receives signals from satellites orbiting the planet, which helps determine a highly accurate geographic location.

Apps on your phone that need to track your location to function, such as weather, ride-sharing, and mapping apps, can access this information. So can some that obviously don’t depend on knowing your exact location, like Google or social media apps.

But if you turn off your phone, can cell tower triangulation or GPS track its location?

Is it possible to track your Android phone when it is turned off?

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When you turn off your phone, you temporarily turn off all of its features, including wireless connectivity. By turning this off, your phone cannot be tracked by cell tower triangulation or GPS. The only location that can be detected by these methods is the one that was last displayed before the device was turned off.

So the general answer is no, your phone cannot be tracked when switched off. But this has been questioned many times.

There have been rumors that some bodies can still track your phone when it’s turned off. For example, various reports have come out over the years claiming that the NSA (National Security Agency) may be tracking a disabled device. For example, Slate published an article in 2013 discussing the NSA’s alleged phone surveillance, as summarized in a Washington Post article.

In the same article, Slate notes that in 2006, it was reported that the FBI “deployed spyware to infect suspects’ cell phones and record data even when they were turned off.” CNET’s post is cited here as the source. It’s not known if the NSA is actually able to track phones while they’re off, but the reports mentioned seem to indicate that it is to some extent.

Some agencies, such as law enforcement, are also known to use Trojans to monitor the activities of criminals, and are rumored to be able to track disabled devices. However, again, this has yet to be officially confirmed.

For any average individual or company, tracking your location with a switched off phone would be too much of a challenge, so you probably don’t need to worry too much about apps or your mobile service provider tracking your location if you’re locked out. turn off your phone

Can you be tracked with airplane mode on?

Note that turning off your phone is not the same as turning on airplane mode. Although airplane mode disables various wireless connections, it still allows GPS tracking. Although apps will not be able to transmit your location in real time, they will be able to continue to maintain your location profile.

You should also note that your phone can be tracked even when location services are turned off. If you are connected to a cellular network, cell towers will continue to collect the information. Or in more extreme cases, a malicious operator can track your location using malware that is unaffected by disabling location services.

Turning off your phone can mask your location

If you want to hide your location completely, turning off your phone will certainly do the trick. Simply turning off your device can eliminate all wireless communications, thereby exposing your location to your mobile carrier and third parties.


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